While tutoring can provide many amazing benefits, you will gain the most from your tutoring sessions if you really know how to take advantage of them to the fullest.
Here, I would like to apply a few psychological theories and studies to show you how to get the most out of a tutoring session, whether it's online or offline.
Focus on the meaning of the information:
In 1966, Baddeley at al. tested whether information in our long-term memory was stored based on semantics (the meaning). After asking participants to recall lists of words, he found lists of words with similar meaning were harder to recall than words that sounded the same. Indeed, the brain was seemingly 'confused' when trying to remember so many words with the same meaning, highlighting the importance of semantics in our long-term memory.
As such, when making notes or studying with your tutor, it is more beneficial to focus on the meaning behind the information, rather than simply memorising everything that is being said. Being able to understand the content and its meaning will both help you gain more from a tutoring session, but also let you apply the knowledge in multiple ways, whereas knowledge gained from only memorising sentences will not be as flexible.
Repetition, repetition, repetition:
The Multi-Store Model of Memory (Atkinson and Shiffrin, 1968) highlights the importance of repetition – most long-term memories are created based on the frequent repetition of knowledge, and that information which isn’t repeated eventually decays (aka, you forget it).
The best way to use this knowledge to boost your learning is to repeat and revise information – whether this is done with your tutor, or on your own, make sure to read through things multiple times, and test yourself whenever possible. Having someone to test you or revisit topics you're not too confident with is a great way to get the most out of a tutoring session.
The Working Memory Model (Baddeley and Hitch, 1974) shows us one of the best ways to take in and learn information is by limiting distractions. The model breaks short-term memory down into various components, such as one that handles visual stimuli and one that stores auditory, but they all have their limits. By minimising visual (e.g., avoiding watching a TV show at the same time) or auditory (avoiding listening to music, being involved in multiple conversations at once, or even reading something different) distractions while with a tutor, or even revising on your own, you will be able to remember the content more effectively. While not getting distracted may be difficult at first, it will benefit your education greatly, help you get the most effective tutoring possible, and help improve your self-control.
As you can see, there are many ways to get the most out of a tutoring session, but they are all active processes - tutoring requires just as much (if not, more) dedication and effort from the student as it does the tutor. But hopefully, with these tips, you can truly get the most out of a tutoring session.
Did we miss anything? If this article has inspired you to learn more about our services, find a tutor, or become a tutor, please visit us here.
Do you know any students, tutors, or others who would benefit from this article, or did you enjoy it and want to share it with the world? If so, please share it on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or anywhere else, it really helps!